This chapter asks, What does it mean for traders to have a trading strategy? The trading strategy is predicated as a major component of decision making, and every trader is supposed to have or develop one. Strategy is taught in business schools as a core component. It is taught to traders by so-called master traders. But do traders use strategies, and if yes, how? Moreover, strategies are supposed to be kept secret. The evidence though shows that they are not. While traders talk a lot about strategies, in practice these are seen more as transient prescriptions than stable principles of action. The chapter investigates the degree to which traders really stick with or follow particular strategies, how they understand strategies, and why strategies are not kept secret but are revealed to others. Continuing a line of argument initiated in chapter 4, this chapter looks at the ritualization of strategies and the ways in which they are used to consolidate hierarchies among traders. While chapter 5 deals with collaborative communication among traders, this chapter shows how strategies are used as tools and tropes of individualization, to produce (the illusion of) autonomous, individualized decision makers in trading.
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